Local families enjoy Alabaster National Night Out

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – The Alabaster community recently had the opportunity to get to know its first responders during the return of National Night Out.

The city of Alabaster celebrated National Night Out on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 6-8 p.m. in the Amstar movie theatre parking lot.

“This was my third year as the director and coordinator of the event, and we had another record-breaking year for attendance,” Cpl. John St. Pierre said. “My goal was to have 300 guests, and we had well over 500 guests come and enjoy the event. Everyone who was a vendor or a guest has given excellent reviews about their time at the event, including how much fun their children had and is already asking about next year.”

Attendees enjoyed meeting their public safety officials and gained hands-on experience with the tools and vehicles that officers use every day.

“National Night Out strengthens the bond between law enforcement and the community, providing a sense of safety, unity and empowerment,” St. Pierre said. “Positive interactions and proactive crime prevention measures contribute significantly to building vibrant and secure neighborhoods.”

Those in attendance also had the opportunity to learn about all the criminal justice and victim service resources in Shelby County.

“Attendees received unlimited amounts of free swag items to take home,” St. Pierre said. “The inflatables were a massive hit, leading to great food and dessert trucks.”

There were a variety of activities for families to enjoy, including three 24-foot obstacle courses from All About Fun Inflatables, a rock wall from Mountain High Outfitters and access to multiple public safety vehicles and equipment.

Everyone who attended the event had the opportunity to physically tour many vehicles, including the Alabaster Police Department’s new 2023 Tahoe and F-150, ATV and high-water rescue vehicle (HWRV).

St. Pierre said National Night Out is essential to the community for several reasons, including building trust and positive relationships with law enforcement.

“National Night Out allows community members to interact with law enforcement officers in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere,” St. Pierre said. “Building trust and positive relationships between law enforcement and the community is crucial for effective policing.”

St. Pierre said the event is also important for crime prevention and encourages residents to be proactive in preventing crime by welcoming a sense of community.

“When neighbors know and trust each other, they are more likely to look out for unusual activities and report suspicious behavior to the police,” St. Pierre said.

According to St. Pierre, National Night Out helps in promoting Neighborhood safety since the event often includes safety demonstrations and workshops, educating community members about various safety measures, such as home security, disaster preparedness and personal safety.

“This knowledge empowers individuals to create safer environments for themselves and their neighbors,” St. Pierre said.

He also said participating in National Night Out events helps to create a sense of unity among community members.

“When people come together to celebrate and promote safety, it strengthens the fabric of the community, making it more resilient against crime and other challenges.,” St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre said National Night Out also provides a platform to raise awareness about various issues, including drug prevention, violence prevention and community resources.

“It educates community members about available support systems and services, encouraging a sense of belonging and security,” he said.

The annual event also engages the youth and helps to build positive perceptions of law enforcement from an early age.

“By interacting with police officers in a friendly setting, children and teenagers are more likely to view law enforcement as approachable, making them feel safer and more connected to their community,” St. Pierre said.

According to St. Pierre, the event empowers communities to take ownership of their safety and well-being.

“When residents actively participate in crime prevention efforts, they partner with law enforcement agencies to create safer neighborhoods,” he said.

St. Pierre expressed his gratitude to Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield, and Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney for approving the event and their support of law enforcement.

“Their belief in the importance of National Night Out demonstrates their understanding of the profound impact such events have on our community,” St. Pierre said. “Facilitating interactions between law enforcement and community members in a friendly and engaging environment strengthens the bond and trust between our police department and the people we serve.”